Admission and Unit Information - Master of Education (Social Ecology)

Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing for up to 4 units is available for students with:

  • a postgraduate qualification (AQF level 8) in education; OR
  • a postgraduate qualification (AQF Level 8) in any discipline plus 2 years FTE professional experience in related roles; OR
  • a bachelor qualification (AQF Level 7) plus 5 years full time of professional work experience in related roles.


Applicants for admission into the Master of Education (Social Ecology) must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline and 2 years full time equivalent of professional work experience in environmental studies, communication, media studies, public health or society and culture OR

must have successfully completed a graduate certificate (AQF level 8) or higher, in any discipline.

Applicants seeking admission on the basis of work experience MUST support their application with a Statement of Service for all work experience listed on the application.

Statement of Service

Applications from Australian and New Zealand citizens and holders of permanent resident visas must be made via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). Use the links below to apply via UAC or Western Sydney University. Applications made directly to Western Sydney do not have an application fee.

Applicants who have undertaken studies overseas may have to provide proof of proficiency in English. Local and International applicants who are applying through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) will find details of minimum English proficiency requirements and acceptable proof on the UAC website. Local applicants applying directly to the University should also use the information provided on the UAC website.

International applicants must apply directly to Western Sydney University via the International Office.

International applicants who are non-student visa holders, and are in a permissible visa category, must apply directly to the Western Sydney University via the International Office.

International Office

International students who did not complete their undergraduate degree in Australia must also meet English Language proficiency requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic) - 6.5 overall score with a minimum 6.0 in each subtest
  • TOEFL - 575 (minimum 4.5 in TWE)
  • TOEFL computer based test - 232 (minimum 4.5 in essay writing)
  • TOEFL Internet based test - 89 (writing = 21 and all subtests = 18)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English - (CAE)
  • Grade = B
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
  • Grade = C

The IELTS test scores must appear on a single IELTS TRF and be the result of a test undertaken during the 12-month period prior to submitting an application.

Overseas qualifications must be deemed by the Australian Education International - National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR) to be equivalent to Australian qualifications in order to be considered by UAC and Western Sydney University.

Course Structure

Qualification for this award requires the successful completion of 120 credit points including the units listed below.

Students may exit with a Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate on completion of the relevant units.Refer to links below for structure requirements for these two exit awards.

1725 Graduate Diploma in Education (Social Ecology) - 80 credit points

1724 Graduate Certificate in Education (Social Ecology)- 40 credit points


Students must complete the following ten core units

Core Units

Social Ecology

This unit focuses on learning in the context of social-ecological understanding. It asserts that ecological sustainability is a consequence of the understanding and enactment of social-ecological relationships. In this regard ‘social ecology’ describes a field of understanding while ‘sustainability’ describes praxis in a social-ecological context. Both experience and the understanding of experience – learning- are subject matter. This study is undertaken through reference to ecological systems of understandings in the context of challenges to that understanding. It is grounded in reference to learning, change, creativity, culture, politics and the physical environment. The unit introduces key theorists and invites students to examine their personal relationship to social-ecological learning.

Researching Practice

This unit enables students to engage in research practice in their area of interest or specialisation. The unit contributes to the development of deep insights into the application of research in practice and diverse research methodologies. Students will develop skills in analysing, critiquing, and synthesising the literature in a relevant research area. Their evaluation of research literature will provide the basis of a self-directed research plan that employs appropriate research methods and tools to investigate a question of personal and/or professional relevance. The project will be conducted in the unit 102163 Professional Project.

Professional Project

Professional project enables students to engage in an intensive study of an aspect of work related learning in order to develop, implement or improve some aspect of current professional or personal practice. It provides opportunities for students to use research skills and related theory directly as they implement a practice-based research-informed project within their own areas of specialisation. Students will be required to consult, present 'work in progress' and prepare a final report for a suitable audience.

The following core units are offered in alternate years

Transformative Learning

This unit provides opportunities to examine and apply theories drawn from critical pedagogy, transformative learning and ecological thinking. It challenges students to critically examine the relationships through which personal and social knowledge is constructed and their efficacy in the construction of learning for the future. Inherent in such thinking are questions about the processes of change in education systems that will lead towards equity, inclusiveness, wellbeing, social justice and ecological sustainability.

Leading Change

This unit explores change and leadership through a range of contexts. In this unit we critically analyse cultural, structural and political dimensions of change in organisations, systems and communities. This unit is grounded in leadership models that feature collaborative and relationship enhancing approaches to enable purposeful change.

Engaging Communities

Community engagement is variously seen as a strategy for improving educational outcomes, increasing community ownership and/or empowering citizens to take collective action. Although appeals to ‘community’ often assume a homogeneous ideal, active community engagement needs to respond to a diversity of needs and experiences. This unit begins by exploring the notion of community, its uses and meanings in different discursive and professional contexts. Students will be introduced to theory and praxis aimed at identifying community needs, partnering across diversity and working effectively and inclusively to build community strengths and engagement. The unit’s applied learning focus requires.


This unit posits the importance of ecopedagogies in this historical era. The precariousness of human/nature interrelationships compels us to explore new ways of learning and knowing. Global perspectives and place-based theory have generated new paradigms for what it is to be human. Ecological ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ are central to this. They inform ecopedagogies while providing new ways of experiencing the natural world. Further insight is gained through engaging with First Peoples’ knowledge systems through the conceptualisation of ‘country’ and relational frameworks. Outdoor experiential learning has significant developmental, health, well-being and educational advantages for children, youth and adults. This interdisciplinary unit examines the broader field of applied ecological understanding and re-imagines it as sustainable practice.

Ecopsychology and Cultural Change

Ecopsychology is concerned with the relationship between human consciousness, human actions and environmental issues. It seeks to understand the sources, both phenomenological and socio-cultural, of the disjuncture between nature and psyche and to develop possibilities for personal and cultural re-connection and healing. Through applying experiential methods, critical inquiry and engagement with ecopsychological writings, students develop their awareness of "self", "nature", "culture" and explore the dynamics between them. The unit incorporates perspectives on ecological identity, ecospirituality and sense of place as ways of re-imagining the human-nature relationship and effecting ecologically-oriented change.

At the cultural interface - learning two ways

History, politics and ignorance make the cultural interface between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians contested and fraught. In turn, cultural misunderstanding contributes to inequities in educational attainment, employment and social disadvantage. Students apply a critical perspective to the discourses surrounding Aboriginal disadvantage and white privilege. They develop processes to engage respectfully with local Aboriginal and Islander communities in order to learn and share in a two-way exchange of knowledge. They listen deeply and intersubjectively in their exploration of Aboriginal worldviews, and they reflect on what it means to decolonise their own thinking so as to build partnerships based on mutuality and reciprocity.

Applied Imagination

This unit asks students to reflect upon imagination and its use in research, inquiry, and social action. It challenges students to develop an applied understanding of imagination in the development of creative responses to personal and social concerns. Underlying this exploration is a challenge to students to reflect upon the relationship between form, content and communication, objectivity and subjectivity, arts theory and practice, the writer, performer, artist and educator. The unit considers mediums for expression and communication; imagination as an analytical tool, and imagination as a means for understanding, communicating and enabling intentions and outcomes.


Any two units from the 1726 - Master of Education (Leadership) or 1720 - Master of Inclusive Education.

1726 - Master of Education (Leadership)

1720 - Master of Inclusive Education